Monday, February 21, 2011

Hello from slushy Madison

Many thanks to Nancy McMahon for a first hand, non-media account from an adjunct perspective

Hello from slushy Madison. After a week of relatively good (for February in Wisconsin) weather, Sunday brought rain, snow, and slush.


Photo, Feb 19, 2011, UK Daily Mail

Networks and local TV and radio coverage don't capture what is going on, partly because most news outlets are corporately owned. Being part of a very diverse Saturday crowd of 70,000+ who support workers' rights was a wonderful experience. While our local Fox outlet worded things so that there was an implication that the 80,000 crowd was split between the tea party folks and workers' rights group, there were a fraction of (far less diverse) tea baggers. Things have been very peaceful all week.


If you watch the video links below, note the mix of ages, colors, unions, etc. represented.  Our University of Wisconsin TAA is the oldest in the US, and they are superb.  For those who want to portray Madison as a bunch of left-over hippies, wrong.  Those occupying the Capitol weren't born and most have little knowledge of the Vietnam War riots. 



Our part-time teachers' union (many members are past and present TA's) has no flag, bagpipes, or drums, but many of us demonstrated every day inside and outside the Capitol and will continue to participate as we are able.  As those with full benefits and good pay look at losing those, we hope they come to understand and appreciate our world of few or no benefits and low pay.  We did gain a voice when we became a union in 1996, and now that voice is threatened. 


There are relatively simple solutions to the WI budget non-crisis.  A one cent sales tax would take care of much, but the Republicans have made "no tax increase" into a religion.  Corporations pay very little state tax in Wisconsin.  The tax on beer hasn't been raised in decades.  The crushing of unions has nothing to do with the fiscal mess – it's a pure power play. 


Thanks to all who have shown support. The list of actions/rallies around the country is impressive!  Thanks, Gwendolyn Bradley for that link. And take a look at the  14 senators song 

It was nice to see supportive Californian Sandy Baringer today in Madison.  She braved the drive from Iowa, no fun with our wintry weather. 
However, protests continue. 


100 Best  Protest Banners... and from the end-of-email-message banner of our AFT Local 6100 VP Bob Curry:



(5 states don't have bargaining rights for teachers. They rank 44, 47, 48, 49 & 50 in ACT/SAT scores. Wis ranked 2nd.)


In solidarity, Nancy ~ visit TAA on Facebook



  1. I have to say, I have mixed feelings about supporting the full-time faculty unions of the University professors. I feel like their union cut a deal that benefited the full timers, and specifically threw adjunct faculty under the bus to get a better deal for themselves. And now they are asking for support from the adjunct faculty? Yeah, I'll get right on that

    Jeff in Akron

  2. As a part-time/adjunct/contingent instructor I am glad to read about colleagues in Wisconsin being active in expressing displeasure about their governor's ill-conceived proposal. While I completely agree with the need for collective bargaining rights, I would caution Ms. McMahon from saying "5 states don't have bargaining rights for teachers. They rank 44, 47, 48, 49 & 50 in ACT/SAT scores. Wis ranked 2nd." This claim appears to have been discredited by the St. Petersburg Times. I'd suggest you take a look at the following link:

  3. Sorry about the delayed response. Something went awry with comment notification.

    @Jeff ~ I agree, it's a wicked choice in so many ways but the issues at stake here are not just about us or adjuncts vs full-timers. Personally, I think all adjuncts and other precariously employed workers in the ed biz should support collective bargaining - publicly and vociferously - and use that forum to speak out on the inequities full timers are complicit in.

    Personally, I'd like adjuncts and adjunct groups ally with and endorse Defend Public Education, a largely student run group whose mission includes workplace equity for all education workers.

    @Gary ~ thank you for pointing out a possible problem in published information. Unfortunately, you supported your claim with a bad link that leads to this message: "This page is in an undisclosed location. So secret, we don't know where it is either."

    Besides, I'd rather see what source the St Pete Times cites - just because a newspaper even one with a Pulitizer says so is not enough. I've lived, taught and sent my children to schools in at least three of those states and know the figures are bang on for those


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